If I hear one more public service announcement telling me, “To help us recover from this pandemic, please social distance, wear a mask and wash your hands often,” I will puke.
Let’s first review something about a pandemic. According to Dr. Brian Mochon with Sonora Quest Laboratories, “While disease is a complicated and nuanced issue, there is a common goal in the disintegration of all these diseases – Herd Immunity. The question is, how do we get there?” Dr. Mochon goes on, “With no vaccine, there is only one possible way to achieve herd immunity – mass infection.” That’s it.
Waiting for a safe, proven vaccine is unrealistic and the damage being done to society meanwhile is already devastating.
Again, this leaves only one option — achieving herd immunity. This needs to be the goal. Anything else is psychological limbo, and just prolongs unnecessary suffering. So, let’s get on with it. None of us wanted this disease. But since it’s upon us, we need to get past it.
Yes, this means that we actually have to contract the illness. Many of us. Why is this fact so unobvious? Certainly, it’s not a happy thought. But nonetheless true.
To be clear, we want to achieve herd immunity intelligently. Although it’s a pandemic, we need not panic or overact. Rather, we need to do it with as little damage as possible.
Indeed, we will achieve herd immunity; whether we like it or not. Whether we try to or not. It’s inevitable.
What we’re doing now is greatly delaying the eventuality, and causing unnecessary destruction and suffering as we dawdle.
Continuously, I encounter hysteria about our current actions possibly causing a future spike. But, I contend, we need a spike; albeit a manageable one. For instance, we need to be aware of hospital capacity, protecting the susceptible from long-term impacts, effective treatments, etc.
And, yes, unfortunately, the vulnerable will die. But, let’s be honest, the vulnerable — and many others — are dying now. A Swiss study by Dominik Andreas Moser shows that as a result of just a three-month shutdown, people suffer, on average, 0.2 years of life lost due to suicide, depression, alcohol use disorder, childhood trauma due to domestic violence, changes in marital status and social isolation. However, most of those losses will be concentrated in just 2% of the population, who will suffer nearly 10 years of life loss.
Do we not care about them?
However, instead of acknowledging these realities, we seem stuck in the paranoid mindset that the only alternative to an economic shutdown and massive curtailing of our freedoms, is untold number of preventable deaths. That’s a false narrative.
When I see the Gov. Polis scold CU fraternities for “social gatherings,” I just shake my head.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), those 20-29 account for the largest number of infections, with over 20% of all infections. But they also have about the lowest number of deaths, with only those younger faring better. So, why can’t we realize that allowing 20-somethings to contract the disease is one of our most efficient ways to get to our desired destination?
So, please lighten up, Governor.
When it comes to masks, I’m opposed to their general use for several reasons. First, because they work. That’s right; they’re effective at slowing the spread of the virus. And, if we’re to emerge from this crisis, we actually need to allow it to spread. Secondly, masks have brought great harm to our society from a human interaction standpoint. Over the last half-year, our society has sunk into a paranoid-laden suspicion, where we treat each other as a threat to our well being. This is a sociological tragedy.
The other phenomenon that bothers me is the mindset that we all want and expect safety, without having to personally endure any hardship. We need to remember, we’re in this together, and if we want to get to the other side, we must all contribute to the common cause. And, yes, this means that we all must accept some risk of contracting COVID. That’s part of being a member of our society. We cannot go through life expecting others to pay a price, but not us. For what would be fair about that?
Charlie Danaher is a Boulder County resident.
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